Tennessee’s First Election For the U. S. Senate: The Democratic Primary 1915

By Ray Hill 2015 marks the one-hundredth year since the people of Tennessee cast their ballots to select a candidate for the United States Senate. There had previously been non-binding preferential primaries, as senators were still elected by the state legislature. The 1915 primary was unusual in two respects; first it was no ordinary election […]

Bob Taylor of Tennessee

By Ray Hill Senator Kenneth D. McKellar once claimed that outside of the three men who served as President of the United States, Robert Love Taylor was “the best-known man to the Republic at large that Tennessee has ever produced”. It well may have been true. Robert L. Taylor certainly enjoyed almost unparalleled success as […]

In This Corner… Senator McKellar Slaps Publisher

By Ray Hill Tennessee’s senior United States senator, Kenneth D. McKellar, was well known for having a volatile temper and had won a well-deserved reputation as a feudist.  It was not uncommon for the peppery senator to become involved in a physical altercation, even as he approached his eightieth birthday. The winter of 1948 should […]

‘Mr. Speaker:’ John McCormack of Massachusetts

By Ray Hill   “I have no hesitancy in insisting that Government in an emergency do everything that can reasonably be done to relieve human suffering and distress.” That was the philosophy of John William McCormack throughout his long political career and he lived by it. John W. McCormack of Boston was an old-fashioned politico.  […]

‘Mr. Speaker:’ Sam Rayburn of Texas

By Ray Hill “Any jackass can kick down a barn, it takes a carpenter to build one.” So said Sam Rayburn of Texas. Completely bald, thickly built and one who never forgot his humble beginnings.  Sam Rayburn was the looniest serving Speaker of the U. S. House of Representatives in our nation’s history.  For seventeen […]

All In One Lifetime: James F. Byrnes of South Carolina, Part II

By Ray Hill James F. Byrnes had resigned from the Supreme Court of the United States to accept the responsibility for running much of America’s war effort at the personal request of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  Byrnes had given up a lifetime appointment, but being a wily politician, he realized the opportunity for further advancement.  […]

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